RCR has received a $129,000 grant from the Colorado Energy Office to implement an e-bike access program for low-income locals. The program will provide new e-bikes free of charge to referrals through several local partnering nonprofits and government agencies.
RCR will roll out an ownership model e-bike distribution program in Routt and Moffat Counties starting in spring 2023. RCR’s existing Bike Match program provides the necessary infrastructure to accommodate the $129,000 Colorado Energy Office (CEO) E-Bike Grant, with low income community members applying through referring agencies or nonprofits to receive a free (or very low cost) e-bike and accessory kit.
The passage of state bill 22-193 in 2022 established the Community Access to E-Bicycles program, which provides state-level funding for both e-bike rebate programs and for grants to help finance ownership programs, such as this one facilitated by the CEO.
RCR will work with a local e-bike supplier, Pedego, to fulfill orders through this program. “There are many benefits of working with a local e-bike supplier instead of the large direct-to-consumer companies with no local presence,” says Matthew Rochon, RCR’s Community Outreach Program Manager. “Pedego is a reputable e-bike supplier with an established supply chain that is able to procure and provide maintenance for the 40 bikes we requested in advance, and at a discounted rate.”
E-Bikes will be ordered by RCR in response to direct referrals through five key agencies who will have vetted income thresholds: Routt County Department of Human Services, Moffat County Department of Human Services, Integrated Community, Lift Up of Routt County, and the Yampa Valley Housing Authority. All e-bike recipients are expected to be program participants or beneficiaries of the services offered by these agencies. “We strongly support this program and its focus to create transportation solutions for low-income citizens and newcomers in our community,” says Nelly Navarro, Executive Director of Integrated Community. “RCR aligns with our mission by providing access to community members that oftentimes face the most inequities while encouraging physical and mental well-being and integration.”
This program will advance two major local objectives that echo those of the CEO in providing this grant opportunity statewide. The first is to advance transportation justice and modality options for disproportionately cost-impacted sub-communities within Routt and Moffat Counties. The second is to encourage the adoption of e-bikes as a choice form of transportation, thus reducing car trips in the area, and reducing our overall greenhouse gas emissions. “Our Climate Action Plan and Electric Vehicle Readiness Plan both speak to the need for our community to move away from gas-powered vehicles to electric and multimodal transportation options,” says Winnie Delliquadri, Special Projects and IGS Manager for the City of Steamboat. “When the City became aware of this [CEO grant] opportunity, we approached RCR with the idea of collaborating to bring e-bikes to members of our community who could use them for basic transportation.”
The “side benefits” of the program are expected to be numerous and diverse. Potential additional benefits of the project include (but are not limited to): strengthening local municipal and nonprofit partnerships, increasing e-bike user education, and elevating the capacity of local cycling programs to include e-bike maintenance and outreach.
Program participants will be selected through referrals from the agencies and nonprofits listed above. Participants will be selected based on various criteria, including household income verified to be less than 80% of area median (less than $57,300 for a single person in Routt County), proof of local employment, and feasibility of e-bike usage for ongoing commuter purposes. Those interested in becoming a program participant should look for communications from referring agencies in the near future.